Fighting America’s Afghan War

As the Obama administration has finished revising its AfPak strategy, it seems stuck in some obdurate ground realities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The National Intelligence Estimate casts ample doubt about the prospects of victory, while President Barack Obama is being politically correct by remaining optimistic on such prospects. 

To the utmost frustration of the United States, those realities threaten to undermine the chances of victory.  While winning in Afghanistan is becoming increasingly essential inside Washington, Pakistan and Afghanistan are holding important cards for that victory to emerge, even in the next two-to-four years. Continue reading “Fighting America’s Afghan War”

The Shape of Global Progress: “Top Global Thinkers of 2010”

If you lead the globe in the domain of ideas–in which the United States is a highly visible actor–the world, if it were not to follow you, would pay a close attention to you.  One example of my observation is the Foreign Policy Magazine’s list of “Top Global Thinkers of 2010.”  The list is a truly global one, but it is not free from its heavy cultural bias.  No one would agree with the inclusion of all hundred persons listed therein (Ayaan Hirsi Ali #61, a true non entity, who received world publicity simply for renouncing her Islamic faith, but was selected largely for her “staunch defense of Western values,” as if that should be a genuine criterion her inclusion in that list), but everyone has to agree that the Foreign Policy has set a trend, which is both followed and observed all over the world.  For instance, Forbes and the Financial Times have their own similar lists. Continue reading “The Shape of Global Progress: “Top Global Thinkers of 2010””

The Politico-Cultural Basis for the Arab Fear of Iran

Authoritarian regimes are notorious about keeping their real policies and the personal predilections of their rulers as state secrets.  Whenever they speak in public, their words are carefully chosen and they almost invariably do not reflect much about the real policies of their respective countries.  In this regard, WikiLeaks‘ disclosures about the Saudi perceptions of Iran and what measures the Saudi King wanted the United States to take against Islamic Republic are truly educational for students of current affairs, as well as for future historians.  King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was reported to have advised General David Petraeus and the then U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, that the United States should crush the head of the snake by attacking Iran.  He was referring to his fears about the potential emergence of Iran as a nuclear power.  King Abdullah, during a meeting with President Obama’s Counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, also expressed his deep apprehension of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by stating “I don’t trust that man.”  For those who are immersed in the strategic affairs of the Middle East, King Abdullah’s comments also reflect long-standing politico-cultural antagonisms between the Arabs and the Persians (Iranians). Continue reading “The Politico-Cultural Basis for the Arab Fear of Iran”